Easy Lasagna

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The only thing better than food is friends. I am lucky enough to have a dear friend from high school who goes to college near enough to visit every once in a while. Though we have visited each other multiple times the routine is always the same: talk about what we’re going to eat, eat, talk about food while we’re eating, talk about what we just ate, repeat. Someone once told me that “in the South we don’t talk about what we’re going to do next, we talk about what we’re going to eat next.” Maybe because we’re far away from home this trait comes out even worse when my friend and I are together, but we literally become obsessed with talking about food. I’m pretty sure everyone around us thinks we’re crazy but we can’t help that we love to cook and that one of our favorite games is “recount in great detail the 10 best meals you ever had.”

Over the last three years I’d say we’ve both improved in leaps and bounds in our cooking abilities. While I love and appreciate my friends who don’t cook for their intense enthusiasm to eat what I make, it’s a real treat for me to cook with someone else. Nothing is more fun than chopping up a bunch of onions together and having someone to problem solve with when it’s been an hour and your yeast dough doesn’t seem to be rising. Now that we are both a little older and have access to more substantial kitchens we’re unstoppable (and you should see us when we go home and have really really well equipped kitchens!). This time, among preparations for a party that involved a very special cake, we found time to throw together some lasagna… and I promise that if we could pull it together while trying to get dough to rise/clean up/catch up/talk about food, you can do it under any circumstance.

Easy Lasagna

Ingredients

  •  About 4-5 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 package lasagna noodles
  • 15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
  •  At least 4 oz mozzarella cheese

Substitutions

  • Mozzarella is optional, you can use parmesan or any other kind of cheese you like. I bought a block and cut slices, but you can just as easily buy shredded (or shred it yourself) instead.
  • Feel free to use any kind of tomato sauce you like. I personally enjoyed adding some kale for extra flavor and vegetables.
  • If you want to add meat, just cook it into your sauce directly.

Start by making a basic red sauce (or red sauce with kale, my favorite). Add at least an extra cup of water to the sauce, this will help the noodles to cook.

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Preheat your over to 425 degrees

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Mix the ricotta, egg and parsley. Add a dash of salt and pepper. If you are using a block of mozzarella, cut into slices and set aside.

Take a brownie pan or another similarly sized casserole dish, grease it well using Crisco or butter. Then, add 1-2 ladles of sauce.

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Place a layer of noodles on top, making sure to cover everything fully. These noodles are uncooked! Don’t worry, there will be enough liquid from the sauce to soften them.

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Use about ½ of the ricotta and spoon onto noodles, then spread evenly so that noodles are covered.

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Take the mozzarella and place small bites evenly on top of the ricotta.

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Cover with 2-3 ladles of sauce.

Add another layer of noodles, the rest of the ricotta and then mozzarella.

Add sauce again, then the final layer of noodles. Add more sauce so that noodles on top are well covered, you can also add some additional mozzarella if you like.

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Cover with foil. Place into oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until it is gently bubbling. If it seems to wet when you take it out you can put it back in the over for 5 minutes with the foil taken off. Let sit at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve with extra sauce to top it off! Enjoy!

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